Information Minister resigns over “Newsgate” controversy
In an attempt to take appropriate action against all parties involved in the news leakage controversy, Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif has withdrawn all the responsibilities of the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting. PM house handout said “Rashid has been asked to step down till the pending inquiry over daily Dawn story; body of senior intelligence officials will probe matter, assign blame”.
92 News, News One aired headline and breaking news on October 29 while Dawn, daily Amn, daily Pakistan and daily Nawa-i-Waqt on 30th October reported the stories.
However Business Recorder on October 30 published resignation letter of Rasheed.
92 News, Abb Takk, Aaj News, ARY News, Capital TV, Dawn News, Geo News, JAAG News and News One covered the press conference of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan over News gate from Dawn and resignation of Rasheed. Interior Minister said “Rasheed should have informed journalist that the story was against national security.”
On October 25, daily Jang reported that the Information Minister, Rasheed is said to be the person who leaked the information to Cyril Almeida for the article published in Dawn. Apparently, Rasheed met with Almeida and answered his questions, which were either a yes or no. This propaganda against him which makes him responsible for the news leak is to create an atmosphere of mistrust between the civilian and military leadership.
New Committee formed to investigate the ‘Security Breach’
The current investigations point to the fact that the breach took place because the Ministry for Information and Broadcast lacked the skills to stop any such news from spreading around. An announcement has been made about forming a committee comprised of officers of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Military Intelligence (MI) for further investigations. The committee has been tasked to clearly identify interests and motives behind the story and to apportion the blame correctly for stern action. ARY News on October 29 aired breaking news while The News, daily Dunya, daily Intikhab, daily Express and daily Nawa-i-Waqt on October 30 also covered the story.
Calling the story ‘planted’ biases the inquiry
Top experts believe that the Dawn story was neither a national security breach nor a violation of an official secret. Any inquiries that should be done should be started from the Dawn office and the editor and journalist involved, instead of the government and military officials. Without asking one party, terming the story as planted will make the whole process of inquiry biased. Justice Allah Nawaz, one of the top legal brains said that a statement in a paper does not constitute a security breach unless proper investigation is carried out and more facts are provided. The news was reported by The News and daily Jang on October 30.
Almeida flies to US
Almeida flew to US weeks after his name was removed from Exit Control List (ECL) to cover the US Presidential elections. According to ARY news anchor, Arshad Sharif, Cyril was under investigation for writing a controversial news report about a meeting between the civil and military leaderships. ARY News on October 27 aired breaking news while Regional Times on October 28 also covered the story.
PEMRA continues crackdown against Indian DTH, facing resistance
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) officials were attacked by cable operator Hamid Ali and others in Hafizabad, when they tried to shut down their operation on the premises of illegal Indian broadcast. PEMRA official Inspector Asad Abbas Kazmi and his team went down to Khanna Bhattiyan to shut down operations of an illegal cable operator who did not comply with the PEMRA regulations, when the cable operator called his goons and attacked the officials. PEMRA official has submitted complaint against more than 40 persons, reported daily Jang on October 24.
PEMRA officials have seized 1,762 illegal instruments that include DTH equipment and C Line operations to date. TV channels and radio stations are under constant surveillance since 21st October and operations shall be started against them after compiling reports. The story was reported by The News on October 24.
Geo News aired a ticker on October 26 while daily Dunya on October 27 reported Custom Intelligence and PEMRA team raided a van near Phuleli station in Hyderabad and seized Indian TV channel’s receivers, shifted them to custom house and also arrested two accused.
ARY News on October 27 aired detail news regarding PEMRA’s continued crackdown against Indian content. PEMRA crack down reports were also published by daily Jang and daily Nawa-i-Waqt on October 25.
PTI’s complaints against anchor
ARY News on October 24 aired breaking news that PTI writes letter to Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam to take action against Geo’s anchorperson Salim Safi. Letter alleged that the anchorperson targeted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government on the basis of hatred.
CPNE debates on the Journalists’ safety and RTI bill
During a session on the Right to Information (RTI) bill, Principal Information Officer, Rao Tehseen Ali Khan was informed about the reservations regarding the bill after a detailed and lively debate by the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE). The editors were assured that the government will take into consideration the views of the newspaper editors CPNE before passing any bills that affect their nature of work and will make sure any such bills assist them instead of hindering their work. Daily Express covered the story on October 25.
CPNE President Zia Shahid and Secretary General Aijaz-ul-Haq in a joint statement demanded from government to provide fool-proof security to journalists and media workers. The demand was made after observing the recent terrorist attacks by non-state actors and protests and strikes by politicians. On October 27 different newspapers including Business Recorder, Pakistan Today, Regional Times, daily Amn, daily Express, daily Intekhab, published the story.
PFUJ creates an endowment fund worth Rs. 5 million
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has created an endowment fund for the welfare of journalists and also formed a Committee of five members which included the President Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) Hassan Abbas, President Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) Shehzad Butt, treasurer PFUJ Ashfaq Sajid, Member Federal Executive Council (FEC) Azam Chaudhry and Member FEC Ihtishamul Haq.
The Secretary General of PFUJ G.M. Jamali put forth resolutions, focusing on unification, wages, hiring, supporting anchor Saima Kanwal and sponsorship of journalist’s children after their death. All resolutions were passed unanimously. The news was reported by daily Express and daily Nawa-i-Waqt on October 25.
Slapping anchorperson issue amicably settled
Following the filing of cases by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and TV channel in the case of slapping the anchor Saima Kanwal, both parties have reached to consensus to resolve the issue, out of court. Both parties will withdraw the cases. The news was reported by Daily Amn on October 24.
Daily Pakistan on October 29 published an article with the title “Maashrey key munh par thappar” written by Bushra Iqbal Malik. The writer discussed the recent slapping incident of anchorperson of K21 channel Saima Kanwal and criticized the FC personnel for his act.
Big News, bigger conflict! What is the Reality?
The article published in daily Jang on October 25 written by Saleem Safi giving his point of view regarding the Dawn article by Almeida. The author of this article believes that the facts of the situation were not verified by Almeida before sending them to print. He believes that the facts of the article were fed to the journalist by someone in the federal government to create an environment of mistrust between the civil and military leadership deliberately.
Journalism turned into media industry
Daily Pakistan on October 26 published an article with the title “SahafatkeStriptees” written by Wusat Ullah Khan. The writer in this piece of writing had described that how journalism has turned into a media industry, nowadays media owners ask their reporters to bring the news from anywhere exclusive and sensational news, your salary is linked with channels’ rating ‘No rating, no salary’. The writer also recommended the owners of journalism to spend to also spend some time or money on professional training.
Freedom of the Press
The Express Tribune on October 27 published an article entitled “Freedom of the Press” written by Hassan Niazi. The writer discussed the incident of placing a journalist’s name on ECL and how this step of government weakens the freedom of expression. He wrote that no country should create a situation where its journalists live in endless fear of the penalties for their stories published regarding official activities and public officers.
Health Minister takes notice of mistreatment with journalists
Sindh Health Minister, Dr. SikanderMandhro took notice of offensive attitude of the Principal of Shaheed Benazir Medical College, Lyari Dr. Anjum Rehman. Journalists were not allowed to enter the medical college premises. Sikander said that the Principal had done this on a number of occasions and had been pardoned before but now strict action needs to be taken so an example is set to improve the management of the college. The news was reported by daily Pakistan on October 25.
Ofcom to investigate against ARY News
Jang on October 26 reported that Britain’s media regulator Ofcom has started investigation against ARY News for telecasting maligning and hate campaign in their program “SawalYehHai” against Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousufzai and her father ZiauddinYousufzai. The channel invited guests in their program and made allegations against Malala during the discussion on her book titled “I am Malala”.
Remembering Daniel Pearl
US Consulate on October 25 organized a music concert to celebrate the legacy of American journalist Daniel Pearl who was murdered in Karachi in 2002. The Sketches and Sounds of Kolachi both the bands delivered several speeches before the audience to remember the journalists and music lovers. The Express Tribune on October 27 covered the event.
Journalism Training imparted under ‘Educate a Girl’ program
1,000 deserving girls in Karachi were imparted journalism training and assisted in finding jobs so they may achieve sustainability and eventually be donors. The program was completed and the celebration was held at Lincoln’s Corner, Pakistan American Cultural Centre. Girls were encouraged to find a livelihood and fund scholarships for other women. The story was reported by The News on October 28.
Journalist Ghulam Rasool passes away
The president of Nasarpur Press Club and senior journalist Ghulam Rasool alias Gul Dawood Pota passed away at the age of 58. Nawa-i-Waqt on October 29 reported the story.
During the week PPF monitored 61 news, tickers, headlines and programs related to Pakistani media that were covered in the following television channels – 92 News, Aaj News, AbbTakk, ARY News, Capital TV, Dawn News, Dunya News, Express News, Geo News, Jaag News, Neo News, News One, Samaa and TV One.
There were 52 news items, articles published in English and Urdu dailies including Dawn, The News, The Nation, The Express Tribune, Business Recorder, Pakistan Today, Regional Times, Jang, Dunya, daily Express, Nawa-i-Waqt, Intikhab, Amn, daily Pakistan.
PPF monitored 113 news items in both newspapers and TV channels during the week. The majority of the news makers were 88 males, five females; while in 20 gender of spokespersons was not mentioned.